Congressman Jimmy Duncan chats with truckers at the IdleAire demonstration.
IdleAire Technologies Corp., of Knoxville, Tenn., recently was awarded a $1 million state grant to install 120 additional parking spaces equipped with IdleAire technology. The exact locations of IdleAire units are still to be determined, according to company officials.
IdleAire units provide heating, cooling and power, as well as telephone, high-speed Internet and television connections to the cabs of parked trucks. The retail cost to use the system is $1.50 an hour. Fleets that sign up are charged $1.25 an hour, and drivers can charge the cost directly to their fleet card, the company says.
Congressman John J. “Jimmy” Duncan, R-Tenn., a ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, visited the Petro Stopping Center at Watt Road and I-40/75 Sept. 30 to speak with truckers and fleet executives during an IdleAire demonstration.
The addition will bring to 225 the number of units to the Watt Road area, said IdleAire, which is based in Knoxville. Construction on the first phase has been completed and is being used by drivers.
IdleAire plans its next units to be installed in truckstops in Atlanta, Hunts Point and Chittenango, N.Y., West Memphis, Ark., and Lebanon, Tenn.
Duncan said he supports the expansion of IdleAire because it will reduce the nation’s dependency on imported diesel, reduce air pollution, create jobs and improve driver safety.
For Doug Surrett, president of Purdy Brothers Trucking, a 300-truck refrigerated carrier based in Lebanon, Tenn., safety is the No. 1 benefit. “We think if you can improve the quality of a driver’s sleep, you’ll see a better, safer performance the following day,” he said.
Tony Alderman of Fayetteville, N.C., an owner-operator leased to LandStar, demonstrated to Duncan how he uses a high-speed Internet connection to search for loads while listening to music and watching his favorite channels inside an air-conditioned cab with the engine turned off.
Bud Hallahan, an owner-operator from Houston leased to Sitton Motor Lines, said he thinks IdleAire is the only way both drivers and fleets can agree about when to turn the truck off.
“There are no-idle laws in New England, the coldest part of the country. When I first started out at J.B. Hunt, they told me to not idle the truck,” he said. “I told them, ‘Think about what you’re asking me to do.'” Hallahan added that besides being an owner-operator, IdleAire is the best incentive he’s seen to combat idling.
The grant to IdleAire was awarded by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization. Its objective is to reduce air pollution by encouraging drivers not to idle.